I earned $422 today doing telemedicine. I kept track of my income for the day so that I could give you guys a glimpse into what it’s like doing telemedicine while traveling. For those who don’t know, I’m a US physician living in Seville, Spain.
You can download my tutorial for doing telemedicine while abroad here.
Telemedicine While Traveling
I’m not a big sightseer but I do like going for walks and getting lost. The rest of the time I like to go bouldering at a gym, hanging out at a library, lounging at cafe’s, and cooking.
Today I woke up late because I was out until 2:00 am with new friends having beers and tapas. I didn’t see any patients online when I woke up so I turned off my phone and laptop and listened to some music while doing some exercises.
I made my coffee, avocado toast, then showered and was out of the house by around 11:00 am to head to a nearby library, the only one not closed for summer.
By the time I sat down, noon, I had a couple of telemedicine requests and knocked out 6 in the first hour while working on some blog posts and reading some emails.
I hit my $100/day target with those 6 patients and normally would have stopped but I decided to milk it a little more to write this post.
In the next hour I did another 5 patients and then 4 more throughout the rest of the day. The last 4 happened from 5:00 pm until midnight. It’s midnight now, in fact. I’m not tired yet so I thought I’d bust out this post.
Most telemedicine companies have told me that it’s against “HIPAA” for me to reside outside of the US and see patients. I haven’t found any such law – my lawyer doesn’t know of any such law. And the contract I signed with these telemedicine companies mentions no such rule.
Regardless, it’s their company and their lawyers have advised them on this rule. Fair enough.
There are other telemedicine companies which are fine with you doing telemedicine while residing outside of the US. So if you’re interested in doing telemedicine while traveling, seek those out. I’d love to mention their names but they have asked me to not mention their names on this blog.
I just got a LinkedIn message from a recruiter who was looking for an Oregon physician to do telemedicine for a new company. I told her I would be happy to if I can do it for Spain. She checked with the company and said it was all good.
Telemedicine Logistics While Traveling
Some of my telemedicine patients require a phone call or a video visit. However, with most I can communicate with via text.
I prefer the latter not only because it’s asynchronous but also because I can do it from a cafe, a library, a park, a bus, train, plane, or from the shitter.
Just because a telemedicine company allows me to do telemedicine overseas doesn’t mean I will take it lightly. Security is my utmost priority. Both internet security and patient data security. If I fuck it up then I’ll ruin for myself and other traveling doctors in the future.
I use a VPN everywhere I go. I don’t even use public WiFi and tether to my own cell phone. This gives me a lot of control. It has the added benefit of showing my call and log-on location as the US.
I don’t do this to be deceitful but nobody, not even my own mamma has the right to know where I’m at in the world as long as I’m not breaking any laws. I prefer to protect my anonymity… which is why I share everything on a blog…? Okay, moving on.
“But I don’t want to ruin my vacation with telemedicine”. This is what one physician emailed me the other day after reading one of my telemedicine posts.
I’m not vacationing in Spain, I’m living here. I carve out some time to take care of responsibilities and some time for leisure.
Even though I’m financially independent and don’t need the income, I like having the income. I enjoy the work when I do only a little of it. And I’m still insecure about dipping into my investments.
My telemedicine work keeps me supplied with fresh Benjamins and I get to interact with interesting people. It has also led to some consulting work and has provided writing fuel for the UCC blog.
I can earn my $100 in less than hour. I have done a total of 1.5 hours of work today and earned $422. You can break this time up depending on how busy a particular telemedicine website is.
When It’s Raining Patients
Alternatively, if you set aside a time to do telemedicine and it doesn’t pan out, don’t sweat it and go enjoy your day. There is always tomorrow.
That’s the approach I’ve been taking. However, that means that if the following day I sit down to do telemedicine and it’s raining patients then I keep going for longer than planned.
The idea for me is to average a healthy income every week. I aim for around $800/week. If I can hit that in 2 days then I’m done for the week. It doesn’t mean that I won’t do more but I don’t actively try.
Sometimes a telemedicine representative will text or email me and even offer an incentive pay because they are slammed. Even if I’ve met my quota, as long as I’m in the mood, I’m happy to help.
Don’t Force It
Sometimes technology and the universe just don’t want to cooperate with you. My phone call connection is having a seizure. I can’t get the VPN to connect. Every patient I click on gets snagged up by some other doc.
Unless you need the money right then and right there, why force it? There will be another day. Have no fear, the telemedicine well will not run dry anytime soon.
My gym is a 53-minute walk away. That’s 2 hours of downtime that I can spend doing telemedicine. I have my phone on me while listening to podcasts or music. When it ring I click on the patient and I bust out a telemedicine visit right there.
Sometimes I have a YouTube video or a movie playing and have my telemedicine app active on my phone. This style of multitasking works for me and it might work for you as well.
When I write a blog post I need to be semi-distracted. I get up, walk a little, take a sip of my water, take a leak, or respond to a telemedicine request. As I did just now. That’s another $17.
Breakdown of Today’s Work
I used 3 telemedicine platforms to do the work.
11 patients were from one company averaging about $15 per patient.
4 patients were from 2 other companies, averaging about $23/pt.
I did the first 6 patients at the library within about 30 minutes.
The next 5 were done once I got back home to make lunch over 50 minutes.
And the final 4 just popped up while I was exploring the town and walking to the gym.